Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wikipedia article page views are a great indicator of the public's interest in a topic

It's high-time that Wikipedia page views trends are commercially harnessed. There's a lot of commercially-useful information hidden in these page views statistics, especially if one can also have access to the geographic locations from where these hits come. It's so interesting to see the spikes resulting from events or news stories about a topic [Superjet 100 in this case].



As in the case of Trump versus Hillary, in the recent French election too the winning candidate had higher Wikipedia page-views in the days before the election, strengthening my belief that this could serve as an important indicator for predicting who is going to win an election.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wikipedia's talk pages have a wealth of additional information not found in the main article!

This isn't very known. The talk pages of the most controversial Wikipedia articles usually have a wealth of additional information that hasn't yet made it to the main article [and some of it will likely never make it]. Types of information in talk pages includes facts for community consideration, opinions, concerns, claims, rants, unproven "facts", food for thought, requests for edits, and so on. If you're looking for a comprehensive, holistic picture on something, then you should definitely look at the talk page of an article.

For example, the article on the controversial Gaza flotilla massacre incident includes a lot of information in the main article body. However, if you visit the current talk page or any of the several archived versions [1, 2, 3, etc.], you'll realize that there's a wealth of additional information out there in these pages, and reading it can add much value to your overall impression.

Similarly, the article on United States war crimes gives you some picture, but it's the talk pages [current, archive 1, archive 2, etc.] that tell you the bigger, hidden story.

Half the world's problems will be solved if corporations and people aren't allowed to lie

Look at this beautiful advertisement of Qatar and Qatar Airways. Makes you feel like Qatar and Doha are beautiful places, isn't it? Indeed they are, except that Qatar is also a barbaric country that is accomplice [along with US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia] in the murder of thousands of innocent Syrian people. The ad doesn't tell this to you. Half-truth, in this case, is tantamount to a lie. The viewer is left with an impression that Qatar is awesome and beautiful, but no one educates the viewer about Qatar's ugly side.

This example can be extended to other corporations and countries. We are literally surrounded by advertisements and messages with praise about everything. South Koreans praise themselves, with no one telling the world that South Koreans eat live animals - an inhumane atrocity. Boeing praises itself all the time, but hides the dozens of design flaws discovered in its products. And so on.

The result? Most people do not make optimal choices, as they are largely unaware of the other side. To end this, we must outlaw half-truths and lies. Corporations must not be allowed to lie. Nor should they be allowed to present only handpicked facts. A fully-informed society will take much better decisions than a half-informed society.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Investigating a one-time, abrupt rise in the number of page views of Wikipedia article on S³ Asia MBA

I usually keep a watch on the number of page views of the Wikipedia article on S³ Asia MBA, in order to see how much interest the program attracts. The last time I checked it, there was a six-fold increase on 16-Oct-12 [screenshots below]. Why? I got curious. Was some news story published that I missed? Why this sudden increase in interest? The only plausible explanation I have found is that the release of FT's business school rankings around 15-Oct-12 led to a spike in the page views of the article on National University of Singapore, and this increase led to an increase in page views of the article on S³ Asia MBA [which is linked from the NUS article].